tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 6, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight from charlotte the stage is set for president obama's acceptance speech. one night after the last democrat in the white house lit up the gathering. also tonight our conversation today with first lady michelle obama on her husband, the opposition, and the constant struggle to keep things normal for two daughters at home. >> you have to balance trying to keep their lives normal with allowing them to experience history. also tonight an air scare. a plane turned around in mid air, a passenger handcuffed, and then we learn the real story. air, a passenger handcuffed, and then we learn the real story. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. with the fall election now 60
days away from the democrats here in charlotte it all comes down to tonight. after a long wind up and one brief cameo appearance on stage last night, tonight they get to hear from president barack obama who will make his case for re-election. this entire event is something of an audible. we were supposed to be outdoors in the football stadium but because of the rain here in charlotte including earlier today the president will appear here in this much smaller hall tonight. our team is in place to cover it all. andrea mitchell starts off our coverage just off the convention floor tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the president will be speaking to a much smaller audience in this hall tonight and he won't have the large stage of the outdoor stadium, but his aides say what's important is the message and how it's received by the millions watching on primetime tv. the main event. tonight president obama officially accepts his party's
nomination after getting a big lift from bill clinton last night. >> i want to nominate a man who's cool on the outside. [ cheering ] but who burns for america on the inside. i want a man who had the good sense to marry michelle obama. >> reporter: many democrats say in 48 minutes clinton did a better job of explaining obama's record than the president has. >> no president, not me, not any of my predecessors, no one could have fully repaired all the damage that he found in just four years. >> clinton delivered detailed rebuttal to republican attacks on welfare and medicaid, ad libbing about paul ryan for attacking the president's medicare cuts. >> you have to admit one thing. it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.
>> reporter: reaching out to independents he hailed the president for embracing his rival. >> heck, he even appointed hillary. >> reporter: on the other side of the world the traveling secretary of state watched a replay of her husband's speech. >> i received the as prepared version, which i'm anxious when i can to compare with the as delivered version. >> reporter: bill clinton's primetime speech pushed joe biden on to tonight's schedule. today the president called the thousands of disappointed ticket holders for the stadium event that had been canceled because of storms urging them to join watch parties tonight and promising to return soon. >> we can't let a little thunder and lightning get us down. we're going to have to roll with it. >> reporter: it was a good call. this afternoon charlotte was deluged by thunderstorms. aides say tonight the president will give his best arguments for another four years. >> i pledge allegiance to the
flag of the united states of america. and to the republic for which it stands one nation under god indivisible liberty and justice for all. [ cheering ] >> reporter: today has already had its emotional moments, gabby giffords leading the pledge of allegiance. and the democrats have figured out how to build excitement. they've had this place rocking for hours with top flight entertainment. they have marc antony singing the national anthem, the food fighters, mary j. blige, and for the boomers, james taylor. >> andrea mitchell setting the table. from entertainment to politics here tonight, andrea, thanks. earlier here in our booth today the first lady came by for an interview. we talked about, among other things, bill clinton's speech last night, and that lasting image onstage of the two presidents hugging it out, notable because of the interesting way president clinton described their relationship to me just
yesterday afternoon and the first lady addressed it with us here today. has it been a complicated relationship or an easy relationship? >> it's been an easy relationship. in fact, the relationship that barack has developed with all the former presidents has been one of cooperation because i think once you have held that position, you know, you understand that the sitting president needs the support of people around the country including former presidents. so people have always been willing to step up and be helpful wherever they can. >> in your job you get to listen to all of the psychiatrists analyze your husband. peter baker this morning's "new york times", he's a proud yet humbled president, a confident yet scarred president, a dreamer mugged by reality. does that resemble the man you know? >> no. it's not that complicated. you know, i think we see who barack is every single day.
i mean, he comes from humble beginnings but he is deeply passionate about trying to serve others and trying to use his position to help as many people as possible. that's why my speech was so easy, because, you know, his vision for this country is truly something that we all share, so some of these characterizations are a little more complicated than i would attribute to him. >> i was surprised to hear you say you didn't see ann romney only because at this level of play there are so few people. are you remotely curious? >> you know, i think because i'm not truly at this level of play, you know, i really do try to stay outside of politics, because it keeps me grounded and focused on what's important. so it's not just not listening or not seeing the convention. i try not to spend too much time listening to pundits and the analysis that goes along with
politics, because often times i find that that's very different from how people are feeling on the ground. >> are you remotely curious anyway? >> you know, i always hear about it, right? i mean, we live in, you know, everybody's watching the convention so it's not that i don't hear feedback. but, you know, i would say that i am not -- i am not personally curious because there is so much work to do, you know, i think coming up to this convention i spent a lot of time on my speech and really trying to hone the things that i wanted to say and, you know, i think it's important for me to have a sort of clear perspective when i'm trying to figure out my own voice. >> all of us who have raised daughters especially have been fascinated by your daughters. the adage, how did they get so big? >> i know. >> we reported on it the other night. and the strain to keep their lives normal. it strikes me. what a day in their life they're having today. >> yeah. >> because their parents insist on school, they are in school. except for when they get on the air force jet because they can't
fly commercially to come down and watch their dad accept his party's nomination for a second term. tomorrow back to school. >> tomorrow back to school. yes. >> there's a lot of pressure on them to remain level headed and i know you folks said you've tried your best to keep that tenor at home. >> yeah. well, that's why these moments are few and far between. you know, because you have to balance trying to keep their lives as normal with allowing them to experience history. you know, being at a convention is a once in a lifetime thing and they have an opportunity to have a front row seat, so at times like that you sort of think, okay. you know, when you get home try to get some homework done. you know, we're going to go to bed as early as possible tonight but then it's up and out. and, you know, a lot of this is because it's what they want to do. you know, this is malia's first week in high school and she doesn't want to miss a lot of classes the first week. >> right. >> she said i'd much rather get up and get back to school and
get to my last two classes on friday. so i like that in her. >> final question about tonight, how much speech rehearsal has there been? how familiar are you with what's in it, tone, tenor? >> my general principle is i like to hear barack's speeches fresh because i want to react to them like everybody else so i don't want to read it or see it or hear it, but he's practiced, you know, he has a limited time to practice because he has this big job of being president. >> i read about it. >> so he's had less time to practice than he did four years ago, but, you know, he gives a lot of speeches, so he'll be okay. >> part of our conversation with the first lady here in our booth in charlotte earlier today. and before we bring in our political team here tonight, a big number came out of new york this afternoon and it's being felt and celebrated here in charlotte, make no mistake. today the dow closed at the highest level of the obama presidency.
the nasdaq saw its highest close since the year 2000. the s&p 500 at its highest level since '08. that's where we'll begin as we talk to our fleet of current and former white house correspondents, savannah guthrie, chuck todd, tom brokaw. chuck, let's start with you down on the floor. we do get this jobs number tomorrow. what do we know about that in advance? >> reporter: well, the president knows the number. he probably has already found out about it. at some point after 4:00, after the markets close his chief economic adviser usually every month gives him a call and tells him what it is. they don't share it beyond the two of them. that's the way that works. so he will know it when he delivers his speech tonight. i know a lot of people are wondering will there be any clues as to how he delivers things, talks about the jobs picture and all that. that of course comes out at 8:30 tomorrow morning. one thing to watch for tonight, vice president biden's speech. it's been a rough week for vice president biden. new poll out showing more people have negative views of him than positive. he got bumped by president clinton and, brian, there's almost no buzz about him running
for president himself, which is what vice presidents usually get at these conventions. >> chuck todd down on the floor, we'll see more of you in primetime tonight. savannah guthrie, tom brokaw here with us in the studio. earlier tonight you were saying life can be measured in terms of the finite number of moments and we're on the heels of one tonight. >> yeah. in a political campaign like this there are only a handful of really big moments. this is one of them. it's an opportunity. four long years of tough economy. there's a time when voters kind of tune out the president. he'll have their attention tonight. advisers are thrilled that president clinton gave that speech last night. they say he made a defense of the first four years that the president couldn't have given himself, but tonight is a night for something that only the president can do and that is to say, where will he lead the country? advisers know he's got to put some meat on the bones. he's got to lay out some kind of agenda and make a compelling case for what is the unfinished business of the obama presidency. >> and tom brokaw, because so
much of life comes back to baseball, have the team members on the democrats given their starting pitcher better run support than the starting pitcher in the republican team had in tampa? >> i don't think anybody can argue even republicans those were not two hugely successful speeches we heard earlier this week from mrs. obama and former president clinton last night. but as chuck todd said rhetoric hits reality tomorrow morning. i've talked to some members of the president's team. they are not wildly optimistic they'll get a great jobs report. they think it will be about where it has been so that is why it is important tonight to sell the sizzle before you get to tomorrow morning. >> very good to see you. i read you made an unscheduled fact finding tour of a local emergency room this morning. >> i did. it was one of those dumb mistakes. i got up early and was in a rush. somehow half a sleeping pill got into the little box reserved for the baby aspirin. it all kicked in at exactly the wrong time. i am fine. it's a cautionary tale. know what you ingest. have a daughter who's a doctor.
i'll be playing tennis for a long, long time. >> good to have you among the seated and not horizontal. savannah guthrie, we'll see you both in primetime. good time for a reminder. we'll be on with two hours of convention coverage in prime tonight beginning at 9:00 eastern 6:00 pacific right here on this very same nbc station. we have a quick hurricane update for you tonight. leslie is meandering well off the coast of bermuda. still a category 1 but it could strengthen to a 2 by the time it skirts by the island on sunday. michael briefly became the first major hurricane of this busy season already, quickly strengthening, blowing up to a category 3 overnight but is already back down to a 2 this evening. so far out to sea it doesn't yet pose any threat to land. and it looks like, sadly, hurricane isaac roiled up some oil that had been covered up since the bp spill along the gulf coast. they are seeing new oil and tar balls in louisiana and alabama. they have closed a total of 13
miles of beaches including some of the barrier islands. the oil has already affected some pelicans and the other worry of course is about the effect on fish and crabs and crawfish. we'll take a break. still ahead as "nightly news" continues, the mystery phone call that triggered a mid air drama today on the us airways flight. later, right down there on the floor behind us the two guys who might have the best jobs at this whole convention.
at first the passengers onboard a u.s. airways flight from philadelphia to texas earlier today were simply told there was a problem and they were turning back and then some of them watched after the landing as a passenger was taken off the aircraft by law enforcement at gun point. police were told he was carrying explosives. that's where nbc's pete williams picks up the story. >> reporter: a u.s. airways
flight from philadelphia to dallas was barely under way when it was suddenly brought back to the airport and passengers hustled off. on the facebook page of one of them onboard that flight christopher shell, up popped this, quote, i'm pretty disappointed in us airways currently. we just spent a half hour in the air to be notified that the plane has technical difficulties and had to fly back. moments later a stunned christopher shell was escorted off the plane in handcuffs the subject of an investigation for possible explosives but nothing hazardous was found and police concluded he was actually the victim. >> all indications are that this was a hoax and a pretty nasty trick was played on a passenger. >> reporter: investigators say an anonymous caller told airport police earlier this morning shell was carrying liquid explosives. a quick check of flight records found his reservation. the plane was ordered back and police and fbi agents boarded the aircraft, guns drawn. this man was sitting next to shell when a policeman carrying
his weapon stopped at their row. >> right alongside my face with the rifle and about that time an abrupt, 90-degree turn and pointed it at the guy sitting next to me. >> reporter: late today fbi agents questioned shell's ex-girlfriend and her boyfriend investigating whether the hoax was an act of revenge over a personal dispute timed for shell's birthday. though no one was hurt police and airline officials say it was a costly hoax. >> look at the resources expended and delays to passenger, expense to agencies involved and the airport authorities. >> reporter: whoever made the hoax call could face serious federal charges, including the possibility of prison time. pete williams, nbc news, washington. we're back with more from charlotte right after this.
phrase for the american lexicon "i never promised you a rose garden" and contributed further to the american song book with "the games people play" and "down in the boondocks." joe south died yesterday at his home near atlanta. as a guitarist he played with dylan and aretha franklin. joe south was 72 years old. art modell has died. he was among the most influential nfl team owners. though he is perhaps remembered most for moving the cleveland browns to baltimore, something cleveland fans never forgot. he was a high school dropout, air force veteran. he gave a lot away to charitable causes. he was a big architect of modern tv coverage of the nfl like last night's season opener that drew 24 million viewers. art modell was 87 years old. we learned today neil armstrong will be buried at sea. the first man to set foot on the moon started his flying career as a naval aviator and as a carrier pilot flew 78 combat missions during the korean war.
it was his request to be buried at sea from the deck of an aircraft carrier following the national memorial service on september 13th. the newest pictures of the mars rover show something very cool. this was taken from the orbiter above, so that's the rover down below on the surface where you can also see its tire tracks. mission control says it has so far traveled about the distance of a football field. up next here tonight two men here in charlotte whose job it is to find the really valuable stuff on the convention floor behind us.
finally tonight let's talk about the convention floor behind us. as you know conventions are a television camera operator's dream because of the spectacle of it, the stuff people bring and wear and wave. all of it, which over time becomes collectible, even though it may seem disposable as of tonight. and two guys have the job of deciding how much of it should really become part of our national treasure. our report tonight from nbc's kristen welker. >> the republican party convenes to nominate its choice for president.
>> reporter: from the bold pacs to the zany signs and wearing pins bearing slogans nothing has rallied the party faithful over the years like a political convention. ever since 1988 when george h.w. bush took on michael dukakis, two other guys, harry rubenstein and larry byrd, have been on a mission to save the party swag for posterity. >> to me this is really what democracy is all about. >> reporter: harry and larry are in charge of preserving political artifacts at the smithsonian and every four years they go on a road trip to the primaries and conventions making sure all this history doesn't get swept away with the confetti. >> i'm looking for something that is almost iconic, you know, a piece of americana that is representing an individual's activism. >> reporter: in charlotte this week they convinced some delegates to send them their glitzy hats and shirts and donkeys aplenty. >> it would be a real honor to have them in the collection. >> oh, really. >> it would be an honor? >> how many of these do you have just generally? >> about four.
different designer outfits. >> reporter: and while clint eastwood's now famous chair certainly caught their eye -- >> i can't tell him to do that. they regret they don't have room for it. most of what they do have more than 65,000 pieces of memorabilia stored in these drawers, from camelot to ike and abe the items date back to our nation's first president. >> i'm always looking for the next thing. >> reporter: two political junkies trolling for what they see at the convention. kristen welker, nbc news, charlotte, north carolina. >> that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. one last reminder. we're back on the air tonight for two hours of primetime coverage, including the main speeches by vice president biden and president obama. it all starts 9:00 p.m. eastern time, 6:00 on the west coast on this final night at the democratic national convention. i'm brian williams and of course we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.
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